Obama Honors Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Thursday, Oct 29 2009 

President flies by helicopter to Delaware to greet flag-draped caskets of those killed in action

Standing in the pre-dawn darkness, President Barack Obama saw the real cost of the war in Afghanistan: The Americans who return in flag-covered cases while much of the nation sleeps in peace.


Oct. 29: President Obama salutes as an Army team carries the transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. Dale R. Griffin of Terre Haute, Ind. at Dover Air Force Base

In a midnight dash to this Delaware base, where U.S. forces killed overseas come home, Obama honored the return of 18 fallen Americans Thursday.
All were killed this week in Afghanistan, a brutal stretch that turned October into the most deadly month for U.S. troops since the war began.

The dramatic image of Obama on the tarmac was a portrait not witnessed in years. Former President George W. Bush spent lots of time with grieving military families but never went to Dover to greet the remains coming off
the cargo plane.

The lifting of the 18-year ban on media coverage of bodies returning to Dover was done to keep the human cost of war from being shielded from the public.Obama visited the base carrying the weight of knowing he may soon send more troops off to war.


obama 2009 Nobel prize for peace Friday, Oct 9 2009 

Obama calls for Suu Kyi release Wednesday, May 27 2009 

suu_kyiMs Suu Kyi’s trial has drawn international condemnation

US President Barack Obama has called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a written statement, Mr Obama said he strongly condemned Ms Suu Kyi’s house arrest, which has lasted for most of the last 19 years. She is being tried for violating the terms of her detention in a case which has drawn widespread condemnation.

The Nobel laureate faces up to five years in jail, if convicted. “Aung San Suu Kyi’s continued detention, isolation, and show trial based on spurious charges cast serious doubt on the Burmese regime’s willingness to be a responsible member of the international community,” Mr Obama said in a statement.

“It is time for the Burmese government to drop all charges against Aung San Suu Kyi and unconditionally release her and her fellow political prisoners,” he added. Ms Suu Kyi, 63, had been due for release on Wednesday after her latest six-year detention, but was re-arrested this month after a visit to her house by a US man who had not been invited.

She took the stand for the first time on Tuesday to tell the court that she was not immediately aware of the late-night visit but was informed later by her assistant.  Ms Suu Kyi is widely expected to be convicted at the trial.

Obama ‘to revive military trials’ Friday, May 15 2009 

US President Barack Obama is expected to announce on Friday that he is reviving military trials for some of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

But legal rights for defendants facing the military commissions will be significantly improved, officials said. President Obama halted the trials as one of his first acts on taking office in January, saying the US was entering a new era of respecting human rights. The decision to revive the military trials has angered civil rights groups. There are currently 241 detainees still at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.President Obama has pledged to close the camp by January 2010.


Administration officials told journalists that President Obama would announce plans to restart the military commissions – but with improved rights for detainees.They are reported to include restrictions on hearsay evidence; a ban on evidence obtained by cruel treatment; giving detainees more leeway to choose their own lawyers; and protecting detainees who refuse to testify. President Obama is expected to ask for a further four-month delay for the trials so that the new procedures can be implemented.

Some rights groups reacted with dismay to the news. They campaigned throughout the Bush administration for the military trials to be scrapped. “It’s disappointing that Obama is seeking to revive rather than end this failed experiment,” said Jonathan Hafetz of the American Civil Liberties Union. “There’s no detainee at Guantanamo who cannot be tried and shouldn’t be tried in the regular federal courts system.” President Obama himself had criticised the military commission system during his election campaign, describing it as “an enormous failure”.

But, his aides pointed out on Thursday, the president never rejected the possibility of using military commissions altogether if they could be made fairer. They highlighted legislation he supported as a senator in 2006 which was intended to do just that. The BBC’s Adam Brookes in Washington says the president may have decided that trying detainees such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – the man who allegedly planned 9/11 – in a civilian court in the US would be simply too complex and too difficult.

It is thought that only around 20 of the current detainees are likely to be tried through the revived military commissions, our correspondent says. The remaining Guantanamo detainees are expected to either be released, transferred to other countries or tried by civilian prosecutors in US federal courts.